Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grants for Historic Preservation Organizations Uniting with Schools

From The Foundation Center...

History Channel Announces Guidelines for Save Our History Grant Program

Deadline: June 6, 2008

An initiative of the History Channel ( http://www.history.com/ ), the Save Our History Program invites history organizations to partner with a local school or youth group and apply for funding to help preserve the history of their communities.

Each year, the History Channel awards grants to organizations across the country that partner with schools or youth groups on community- preservation projects that engage students in learning about, documenting, and preserving local history.

Eligible applicants are nonprofit 501(c)(3) history organizations such as museums, historical societies, preservation organizations, historic sites, libraries, archives, or other history organizations that are located in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. Other eligible applicants include local government agencies such as parks and recreation commissions, historic commissions, departments of local history, or other local government agencies that own and/or operate a historic site or property. Eligible applicants must partner with a local elementary, middle, or high school, or an organization that provides educational programming for children of similar ages. Applicants may partner with multiple schools or educational organizations.

The History Channel will award a total of $100,000 in grants of up to $10,000 each in 2008. All applications must be completed and submitted online.

Visit the program's Web site for complete program information and application instructions. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10010972/history

Grants for K-12 Math Education

From The Foundation Center...

10) Motorola Offers Innovation Generation Grants for Science and Math Education Programs

Deadline: March 1, 2008

In 2008, the Motorola Foundation will provide a total of $4 million in Innovation Generation Grants to organizations that engage K-12 students and teachers in the U.S. in innovation, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Funding priority will be placed on pioneering programs that engage students and teachers in innovative, hands-on activities; teach innovation and creative problem-solving skills; focus on girls and underrepresented minorities; engage Motorola employees as volunteers; take place in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas com- munities where Motorola has an employee presence; demonstrate measurable outcomes; and are less than two years old.

Any U.S. nonprofit organization may apply. Schools and school districts may apply. Grant applicants may request up to $100,000 each. Select organizations may be asked to apply for larger grants. Grants will be for one year of project work, starting after June 2008. At least 25 percent of the total grant dollars available will support new programming that has been in existence for less than two years and is not simply an expansion of an existing program. Returning 2007 Innovation Generation Grant recipients must demonstrate that they have created new STEM partnerships with business, another nonprofit organization, or another foundation.

Visit the Motorola Web site for complete program guidelines as well as information on the 2007 Innovation Grant recipients. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10010980/motorola

How Do We Tighten Up Our Grant Proposal?

The first priority when writing any proposal is to provide all of the requested information. It must be written clearly in cogent and concise manners. See my post, Top 10 Grant Writing Tips From Foundations

If we imagine the foundation's program manager receiving tens or even hundreds of applications for the grant that you're applying for right now, we know that they're actually reading for content, noting which of your organization's answers in the proposal match their goals, and probably providing notes to advise the decision making body (perhaps the foundation's board).

My suggestion is this; if you can provide a concept that ties the entire proposal together, you will tighten up, clarify, and solidify your proposal. You will demonstrate to the foundation that you submit the proposal to that your organization has a vision and direction. Your organization will appear to have done its homework, planned, envisioned, and committed to the program, project, or research that you're hoping to fund with the grant.

Let me give you an example...

Let's say that you and I work together in the fundraising department of a nonprofit, and you and I are working together on the grant proposal. Our nonprofit, Save America's Comfort Food, has planned out a new program that we're beginning in eighteen months called Keep Healthy But Don't Forget Macaroni and Cheese (a program after my own heart!). After prospecting foundations, we narrowed our focus on eight foundations that we are going to apply to, now, to raise the grants we need for this program. To understand how you and I did this, read How Do I Prepare to Find Foundations That Will Fund Us. You and I have written three drafts of the master grant proposal (the case). We're now sitting down to apply to the first foundation, People for Tasty Food, and we've found that we've provided them with all of the information that they request. Now, we want to bring it together. We want to give the reader a sense of our clarity about the program, we want to share a bit of our excitement for it, and we think of this grant proposal as an opportunity (as each one really is). We're going to nab it.

I'll share a secret with you. If your organization has a Public Relations (PR) & Marketing department, committee, staff, or even a PR & Marketing mandate in a new strategic plan - YOUR ORGANIZATION IS WAY AHEAD. Not only that, your organization has done the leg work and either begun the process to develop a potential unifying concept (or angle) for you to use in your current grant proposals; or they've completed the work. The best angle to tie your grant proposal together is the message, concept, or even organizational direction that your agency's leadership, PR & Marketing department, or whomever that is driving the future of your nonprofit has envisioned THAT 60% OF THE NONPROFIT TRULY BUYS INTO. Don't go off half cocked. Remember, successful grant writing is teamwork. To understand how to unify the office for successful grant writing read How to Coordinate the Executive Director, Board...

Back to our work...we've decided that since our PR & Marketing Committee developed a marketing campaign to roll the new Keep Healthy But Don't Forget Macaroni and Cheese program out - we're going to use it. The marketing message is going to be 'healthy does not have to be tasteless'. It may seem obvious, but it is the motivation behind Save America's Comfort Food's new program is that Americans want to be healthy, but are driven by their taste buds. As an agency, we decided that isn't a bad thing!

In our proposal we have an opening paragraph that right now says,
"On behalf of the volunteers, board, and staff of Save America's Comfort Food (SACF), please accept this $10,000 request for our new June, 2009 program, Keep Healthy But Don't Forget Macaroni and Cheese."

You and I look over the paragraph, then we review the concept behind the new program, and then we look again at our paragraph. After trying to get the concept into the paragraph ten times, we like,
"On behalf of the volunteers, board, and staff of Save America's Comfort Food (SACF); please accept this $10,000 request for our new June, 2009 program, Keep Healthy But Don't Forget Macaroni and Cheese. We are honored to invite People for Tasty Food, to join SACF in successfully provide Americans, who desire affordable great taste, with tasty healthy food options."

Why reinvent the wheel, and also, why not use it? If the foundation that we're applying to, People for Tasty Food, is going to receive even just 30 applications for the grant that we're applying for - that is still 30 applications that they're going to have to read and dissect. The name of the game is to set our proposal apart by providing the information that they request, but also to sell our proposal by indicating that we're planned out, excited, and frankly, that our program is one that they want to be a part of.

The skill in doing this is first, deciding on what that concept that will tie the proposal will be. Second, you must lace this concept throughout the proposal without taking precious space that should be used to provide the foundation with the information that they request. Third, the concept must be real. In other words, you can not come up with a concept that would sell the proposal but does not have anything to do with reality. Fourth, the concept should be relevant to the project or program that you're hoping to fund - but it should also be relevant to the kinds of programs/projects that the foundation has funded within the last two years. Last, after the proposal's in its final draft and ready - the proposal should read well and only demonstrate this concept - it should not be a document describing the concept.

Set your organization apart by providing a compelling but exciting grant proposal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How to Coordinate the Executive Director, the Board, the Volunteers, and Staff to Successfully Raise Grants

In Tracking Grantwriting Work & Organization I explain the method that I use to organize, track, and plan my grant writing work. In Intra Office Communication and Grantwriting I explain the critical fact that grant writers work in a team and that the team understand this to attain successful grant raising.

Another critical step in successful grant raising is coordinating the relevant people involved and the information that they either gather or have.

When you are preparing to submit grant proposals for a nonprofit there are a few major players. The board of directors oversees the organization, its operations, the executive director (E.D.), and staff. The cause, clients, volunteers, donors, constituency, and mission statement all sit above the board, E.D., and staff. Ideally, everyone involved in the organization understands the mission statement, cause, and constituency. Ideally. Yes, in a really great world, everyone involved in the organization understands the donors, clients, and volunteers, too; but arguably there are "specialists" (or could be) for each of these constituents, working for the organization. These "specialists" are the development or fundraising staff; the social workers, or scientists, etc; and the volunteer coordinator. These "specialists" are helpful to a nonprofit because your organization's donors, volunteers, and clients should receive a great deal of care, attention, management, and frankly (to be successful) time. One person can not do it all in a growing organization.

So, as grant writers, we are working in a team. E.D.'s, board members, volunteers, and staff; grant writers must receive quality time, attention, information, responses, etc. from you in order for your nonprofit's fundraising success. I provide some real-world examples that demonstrate why teamwork is critical in Those Who Don't Follow Through On Their Grantwriting Program.

Everyone involved must know that:

__ If anyone affiliated with the nonprofit has a relationship with any board members or staff working for a foundation that you are going to ask for a grant from - you (the grant writer) should be made aware of this relationship. You can then coordinate that person with their contact at the foundation, prior to sending your initial application material (letter of inquiry or the proposal). Your contact can just make the foundation contact aware that your organization is applying, what the request is for, and share a bit of information about your organization. It is not a sales pitch, it is not intense but just conversation, and there's nothing to ask for or pressure anyone for.

__ If anyone affiliated with the organization meets with or hears from a foundation, corporate leader, government leader, etc. (or potential grant donor) that they are aware of your nonprofit, its work, or recent press, etc. - you should be made aware of this connection, the discussion, and the relationship/contact. Note this contact in the potential donor's file as they are indicating an interest in your organization and its work. Their being aware of your group and its work can be a leg up in making a relationship with this potential donor. Look to get a grant now and in the future from their organization.

You as the grant writer can also tell people relevant to the organization's grant program (described above):

__ If anyone knows of a grant available that is a good fit with your group, its work, your programs/projects, and gives to groups in your region - they need to let you know.

__ If anyone hears of an organization that does work similar to yours' receiving a good grant - they need to let you know.

__ If they know about grants that your organization received years and years ago - they need to let you know who the donor was, how much they gave, and for what. Also, they should share any other information that they know, such as a contact's name.

__ If anyone knows anyone affiliated with a potential grant donor for your organization.

__ If a client, volunteer's, or donor's employer (or an employer that someone retired from) matches donations or asks its employees to direct its company's giving (i.e. grants or in kind donations).

Any of the information that you, Mr. or Ms. grant writer, receive needs to be noted, filed appropriately (in a hard file and in your computer grant management software or spreadsheet), AND this information needs to be followed up on by the appropriate person, in a professional and short manner, at the right time.

Connections and the information that your colleagues have can be immensely helpful. Coordinating everyone in the grant writing team is critical to raise grants successfully.

Grants for Schools, School Districts, Governments, and Nonprofits to Train American Students How To Respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

From The Foundation Center...

Medtronic Foundation to Fund School Programs That Save Lives From Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Deadline: February 15, 2008

The Medtronic Foundation ( http://www.medtronic.com/foundation/programs_hr.html ), a philanthropic vehicle of medical technology company Medtronic, Inc., has announced new grant guidelines for its HeartRescue program.

In 2008, funding priority will be given to school programs that educate students about sudden cardiac arrest and prepare them to act in an emergency. Sudden cardiac arrest, an abrupt loss of heart function caused by irregular electrical activity in the heart, is a leading cause of death around the world. Because survival depends greatly on immediate response with CPR and Automated External Defibrillators, prompt action from bystanders is integral to improving overall community survival rates. To increase the number of bystanders trained in CPR and AED use, the 2008 HeartRescue program will focus U.S. grants on schools, school districts, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that develop comprehensive school-based programs that prepare a new generation of people to recognize and respond to SCA.

Priority funding will be given to new initiatives that demonstrate effective education and training programs or emergency response planning that would include CPR/AED training for desig- nated responders as well as students at one or more grade levels each year. Grant funds may not be used to purchase AEDs. Grants range in size from $5,000 to $30,000 per year. The founda- tion may make multiyear grants (typically for two to three years), with a maximum grant amount of $30,000 per year.

Program guidelines and applications are available at the Medtronic Foundation Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10010865/medtronic

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Grants for Filmmakers of Indigenous Descent (Or Hired By Indigenous People to Tell Their Story), Or Artists of Under-Represented Minority Descent

From The Foundation Center...

National Geographic All Roads Film Project Offers Seed Grants for Indigenous Filmmakers

Deadline: Quarterly

The All Roads Film Project is a National Geographic ( http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ ) initiative created to provide an international platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture artists to share their cultures, stories, and perspectives through the power of film and photography.

All Roads includes a film festival, photography program, and seed grant program. The All Roads Seed Grant Program funds film projects by and about indigenous and underrepresented minority-culture filmmakers from all reaches of the globe. The program seeks filmmakers who bring their lives and communities to light through first-person story telling. The grant program is open to indigenous and under- represented minority culture filmmakers, as well as filmmakers who can demonstrate that they have been designated by indigenous or minority communities to tell their story.

Grants range up to a maximum of $10,000 each.

Submission deadlines are quarterly on the 15th of each March, June, September, and December. Visit the program's Web site for complete guidelines and application procedures.

RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10010671/nationalgeographic

The Foundation of the Future...

Strong foundations of the future will show their age!

Healthy foundations, today, are striving to work with nonprofits, fulfill donors' goals, and ultimately work with community partners for results, as evidenced by some of our oldest American foundations, for example The Rockefeller Foundation.

How is this different? Foundations have become strategic. They are conducting their own independent studies to find best practices. They're sharing findings (for free); offering guidance to partners based on their successes and lessons learned; and community foundations, in particular, are offering new philanthropists 'how to' training. Community foundations are developing new philanthropists via modern philanthropic paradigms, determining what operations and policies are most effective, and ultimately moving philanthropy forward.

American foundations have done even more, especially in recent years. I entered a new career in the nonprofit sector in a difficult year, 2001. At a conference that I went to, that year, while chit chatting with a board member of another nonprofit about my being new to the nonprofit sector, she said, 'it's a great time for you to begin learning about fundraising'. I asked 'why'. She responded, 'there's nowhere to go but up'. After the 9/11 tragedy and the unrest it foisted onto the United States, the George W. Bush administration routed public services money from the federal budget to a, then, new war. By mid-2002, I saw in Seattle, firsthand, foundations picked up that financial support slack. They felt that burden but also the need in our community.

In recent years, healthy American nonprofits also learned from their mishaps and successes, have begun to understand the strengths gained in partnering with other nonprofits, avoided reinventing the wheel, and listened to their constituency (to understand what is needed, to know where nonprofits made errors, and to remain effective). They've also begun providing donors with reporting, programmatic and operational goals, transparency, involvement, an ear, and frankly - true partnership. Nonprofits' goal today? It is also ultimately effectiveness at mission-work.

OK, so today, we all mean well in our work.

There's more to learn. Foundations and nonprofit organizations' findings, best practices, partnerships, sharing, and communication have set apart the stronger, effective, American organizations from the others. Educated donors can begin to spot a spectrum in the quality of the various nonprofits they are considering to give to this fiscal quarter. Savvy nonprofits who do their homework can get strategic about whom they will partner with in their work.

Future foundations, floating in their space docks just above the African continent's stratosphere, will have the benefit of our field's best work in these (prior) years. Besides having a beautiful view, our foundation of the future will have a chance to be even more effective than we may be, today.

This post is a response to the January 2008 Giving Carnival hosted by New Voices of Philanthropy.

January 2008 Giving Carnival - Join Us

For the first 2008 Giving Carnival (group blog session), Trista Harris, author of the New Voices of Philanthropy blog asks anyone who would like to join in the conversation, "...what foundations will look like 10, 25, or even 50 years from now." If you'd like to respond, email Trista at tristaharris at gmail dot com by January 18 with your blog post response link, and return January 21st to read what others said. Be a part of the discussion!

My answer to Trista's question is here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nonprofits, Beware of Email From Barbara Moratek of the Ivete Foundation

Please read Alex Eckelberry's "Beware Barbara Moratek of the Ivete Foundation", a short warning on Sun Belt Blog about an email going around to nonprofit leaders requesting old information on organizations from previous years. It is a scam and people around the nation ARE receiving this email.

2008 Washington State Nonprofit Conference

From the Nonprofit Networking List Serve, Seattle...

2008 Washington State Nonprofit Conference
April 9, 2008
Meydenbauer Center, Downtown Seattle
8:00 am -4:30 pm
Offered by: Executive Alliance, Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy and Seattle University's Master of Public Administration and Executive Master of Nonprofit Leadership programs
Presented By: The Boeing Company

For the past 13 years this one-day conference has been the premier gathering of nonprofit community leaders, supporters, and board members coming together to explore ways to enhance the vitality of the nonprofit sector.

On April 9, 2008 we will again convene more than 500 nonprofit and community leaders representing a wide variety of organizations and positions from across Washington State.

Features include twenty-one cutting edge sessions led by respected community leaders; open spaceroom; nationally renowned keynote speakers; more exhibitors and vendors; and the ever-famous free latte cart!

From mission to movement —
Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits
authors Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant are slated as the morning keynote and session presenters. Books will be available for sale and author signing.

We will be offering discounts for groups from the same agency and for early registrations. Register Now! If you have specific questions please email conference@exec- alliance. org, or by phone at (206) 328-3836.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The New Tax Form You'll Have to File If Your Org Receives $25,000 Or More

The IRS finally revealed the new 990 tax form; the form that non profits are required to file. If your organization receives $25,000 or more during 2008, then in 2009 you will have to begin filing a 990, if you have not before.

Both, donors and the United States government now expect transparency and accountability. Non profits are expected to reveal their accounting, programmatic issues as well as successes, and operations; honestly, completely, and professionally. Tax form 990 is public record and often used to research non profits. If a donor is considering giving a large contribution to your organization they may research your group at length, and will certainly check your group's most recent tax filing. Think of it this way... people who have considered donating to your organization and your regular donors will benefit. Due to the new tax reporting requirements, your organization will have more operations, outcomes, program effectiveness, etc. documentation readily available. Use it to both market your organization and to engage donors (or potential donors, potential new board members, etc.) with.

For instance, the Summary Page of the new tax form asks for a quick view of the organization's finances and asks questions about agency governance and board operations. Requesting this new information, alone, improves the ability for the tax form reader to assess your organization. What percentage of donations received is spent on your organization's mission statement and programs? If it's less than 80%, some will wonder if your leadership manages your cash flow, operations, planning for future growth, etc. well. If you spend a small number of total receipts on your mission work, many potential donors will assume that you're simply asking them for donations under ulterior motives. Knowing that you spend 80% or more of total receipts on your programs is a comfort to your current and also potential donors - they should be made aware of this!

The IRS developed this new tax form because the previous one, created in the late 1970's, was outdated. Congress has dealt with more than one or two non profits, in recent years, who receive federal grants but seem to also pay their leadership exorbitant amounts and benefits. These kinds of operations were only discovered after Congress investigated the organizations. This situation was indicative of a real issue: the reporting required via federal tax filings was not informative enough for the government (and others) to SEE what a given nonprofit does/doesn't do with its money for its mission statement. The IRS asked for public commentary as they developed the new form. In its final state, the form reflects the government's and responding American nonprofit organizations' suggestions, goals, issues, and concerns.

IRS tax form 990 has an 11 page core that most nonprofits will fill out and additional schedules that some organizations will be required to complete. You can see the IRS' description of the new core here.

If you have further questions, read the IRS' press release on the new tax form in their article, "IRS Releases Final 2008 Form 990 for Tax-Exempt Organizations, Adjusts Filing Threshold to Provide Transition Relief"

Grants to Inform Public About Islam and Muslims Through US Campuses Receiving Title VI Funding

From The Foundation Center...

Social Science Research Council Announces New Grants Program to Increase Public Understanding of Muslim Cultures

Deadline: January 21, 2008

The Social Science Research Council ( http://www.ssrc.org/ ) has announced a new small grants program in support of outreach activities undertaken by Title VI-funded National Resource Centers on U.S. campuses, with a special thematic focus on "Islam and Muslims in World Contexts."

The objective of the program is to support activities that successfully disseminate the results and insights of academic research on different societies and regions to the general public, and encourage public scholarship by facilitating interaction between research scholars and a variety of constituents, including media, policy institutions, business, and local communities.

Current Title VI NRC recipients on U.S. campuses are eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000 per center, to be used over a period of twelve months to enhance existing capacities on their campuses, or to create new activities, for promoting public understanding of Muslim societies and communities in all their variety and diversity across all geographical regions of the world. Support is available for outreach to media, business, policy institutions, and the general public but not for K-12 education. The SSRC expects to make as many as thirty-five grants over a two-year period. Applications that involve more than one NRC on the same campus or across campuses are encouraged as are applications from administrative units overseeing multiple Title VI programs.

Program guidelines and application forms are available at the SSRC Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10010530/ssrc

Grants for Community Media In GA, NC, and SC

From The Foundation Center...

Fund for Southern Communities Announces Media Justice Grant Opportunity

Deadline: February 29, 2008

The Fund for Southern Communities ( http://www.fundforsouth.org/ ), as part of the Funding Exchange's Media Justice Fund ( http://www.fex.org/mjf/ ), seeks proposals for grants in two categories:
1) Community Media Collaboration -- projects that address media policy, infrastructure, or accountability within the context of a social justice issue or campaign; and
2) Media Justice Toolkits -- popular education materials for social justice activists and the general public on media justice issues. To be eligible to apply, an organization must be working for media and/or social justice; be located and doing work in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; and have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or have established a relationship with a fiscal sponsor with tax-exempt status.

Grants will range from $5,000 to $10,000 each for one year.

To learn more about the Fund for Southern Communities and to access the Request for Proposals, visit the fund's Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10010532/fundforsouth